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Monday, December 23, 2013

PP: What active players are on their way to Cooperstown? (AL Edition)

Is CC Sabathia really a “lock”?

Boston Red Sox

Locks: None | On the fringes: Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz | Jury’s out: None

It’s hard for designated hitters to get elected, as we’ve seen for Edgar Martinez. With the postseason accomplishments and 431 career home runs, Ortiz looks pretty qualified. How the voters account for his PED issues, however, puts him on the fence still. It’s also worth noting that Martinez’ 147 career wRC+ trumps Ortiz’ 138.

Pedroia’s been the face of the Red Sox and one of the best second basemen in baseball, but none of his statistics really scream Hall of Famer. According to Baseball-Reference, the average seven year peak rWAR for Hall of Fame second basemen is 44.5, while Pedroia stands at 38.9. He might get a boost from his two championship rings, however.

Detroit Tigers

Locks: Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander | On the fringes: None | Jury’s out: None

There’s no need to explain Cabrera. I was torn about declaring Verlander a lock, but he looks like a pretty safe bet. He’ll be 31 in February and already has 44.1 fWAR, so he shouldn’t have much of a problem eclipsing the 60 mark that is often considered a cutoff for Hall of Famers. Besides that, he has a Cy Young, MVP, and Rookie of the Year award to his name.

 

Repoz Posted: December 23, 2013 at 10:06 AM | 154 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. BDC Posted: December 23, 2013 at 10:45 AM (#4622817)
An interesting analysis. I would say that the author is a little more sanguine when defining "locks" when I would be. The pitchers in particular: to say that someone is 2/3 of the way to the Hall and ought to coast in, is never "lock" territory, and much less so for a pitcher.

Take Sabathia, for instance, who has more of a career on the books than Hernandez or Verlander (also "locks" here). Sabathia's "bus" comps, by GS and ERA+:

Player           WAR  GS ERA+   W SV     IP
David Cone      61.8 419  121 194  1 2898.2
Dave Stieb      56.8 412  122 176  3 2895.1
Tim Hudson      55.4 426  124 205  0 2813.2
Kevin Appier    55.0 402  121 169  0 2595.1
Mark Buehrle    54.4 429  117 186  0 2882.2
CC Sabathia     54.4 415  121 205  0 2775.1
Billy Pierce    52.9 432  119 211 32 3306.2
Wilbur Cooper   49.0 406  116 216 14 3480.0 


There are some HOMers in the lot, but overall I would say that's not a group the HOF is ever going to look kindly at. Sabathia has >200 wins, good; but he has one 20-win season, one CYA. His postseason record is not bad (9-5, but 6-1 of that in first rounds); it's not a huge plus for him either.

And if Sabathia is not looking like he's already in, much less Verlander or Hernandez. One thing we really will have to wait and see is how HOF voters, at several stages, treat 21st-century starting pitchers. If they'll dial down expectations to the careers that these pitchers are now turning in, then maybe these guys are locks.
   2. JJ1986 Posted: December 23, 2013 at 10:46 AM (#4622819)
This guy involves a huge amount of projection in most cases. I'd say the only locks are Pujols, Jeter, Ichiro and eventually A-Rod. Beltre and Beltran are qualified, but might never make it. Ortiz probably will make it. Verlander, Cabrera, King Felix, Cano and Pedroia should end up in with a normal career path. There's no way Longoria and Trout are 'on the fringes' yet.

I'm not sure about Mauer. I would have said 'no way,' but maybe he's more highly regarded than I realize.
   3. AROM Posted: December 23, 2013 at 10:51 AM (#4622821)
I wouldn't put any pitcher in a lock category until he has actually done everything he needs to have done.

Look at Verlander - even if you add 4 seasons of 5+ WAR (and 20 wins) that puts him around 60 WAR and 217 wins. That's Kevin Brown territory, and he was one and done. It's Curt Schilling territory, and while deserving, he's a long way from actually being voted in. But you can't just assume production for a pitcher, look at how fast Roy Halladay went from top 5 ace, to ineffective, to retirement.

looking at pitchers around 40-45 WAR through age 30, (Verlander is at 40.7 on bbref) I see Oswalt, Reuschel, Gooden, Mussina, Steve Carlton, Sam McDowell, Frank Tanana, Dennis Eckersley. 2 HOFers and Mussina who might get there.

Mussina and Verlander are extremely close, with 136 and 137 wins, and each have pitched exactly 1772 innings.
   4. AROM Posted: December 23, 2013 at 11:01 AM (#4622831)
I'm not sure about Mauer. I would have said 'no way,' but maybe he's more highly regarded than I realize.


He's got 44 WAR through age 30, and not being a pitcher is likely to last to at least get to the 50-70 range where he's a good candidate. Even if he's no longer an impact player, his peak value is very impressive. Having an MVP season doesn't hurt, and I think the trivia of "3 batting titles as a catcher" will play very well to the non-saber portion of the ballot. Sticking around in Minnesota for his whole career would be advised if he wants to make the hall. I don't remember if he had a no-trade in his contract, but he's got 5 and 10 rights now so staying with the Twins is in Mauer's power.

I hate to call anyone a lock given the uncertainties of how injuries can affect a career, and the ramifications of the supercrowded ballot. But I think Joe is extremely likely to make Cooperstown.
   5. jdennis Posted: December 23, 2013 at 11:01 AM (#4622832)
#2

Cabrera is a lock.
   6. BDC Posted: December 23, 2013 at 11:06 AM (#4622837)
I'm not sure about Mauer

The most similar (complete) batting career to Mauer's is Chick Hafey: a HOFer with probably no business being one. Still, Hafey was a really oustanding hitter, if not for very long and without much going for him as a defensive player. Mauer has an argument for having been the best player in his league, maybe in baseball, in 2009 and possibly for all of 2008-10. I'm not sure either, but I bet Mauer "Keltners" pretty well :)
   7. donlock Posted: December 23, 2013 at 11:37 AM (#4622850)
Pujols and Jeter are the closest things to locks. The rest of these guys have to have pretty good finishes to their careers to look as good.Are they any better than the eligibles now? Are these guys better than Bobby Grich, Dave Parker, Lou Whittaker, Alan Trammel, Tommy John, Kevin Brown, etc. The only name I hear as a lock is Maddox.

It is not the fancy stats that seem to sway the voter pool but the general impression, the counting numbers and often team or positional identity. It is a lot like presidential politics-not so much how qualified you are but whether enough people want you to have the job.
   8. zonk Posted: December 23, 2013 at 11:45 AM (#4622856)
Interesting take -- I'll be looking for the NL one...

My thoughts...

BAL: Chris Davis will not be a HoFer but it's an interesting question... Beyond the Ichiro special cases, any HoFer that got a particularly late start on stardom? Davis was a plus player at 26, but last year - his age 27 season - was his first true "star" level season. I can't think of a single Hall of Famer that got such a late start on stardom... Assuming Randy Johnson sails in -- he's the best I can come up with. Maybe Ozzie Smith if you want to say that Ozzie's true defensive greatness wasn't really appreciated -- and he did really learn to hit -- until his late 20s/early 30s.

BOS: As stated before, I think Ortiz needs a couple more plus seasons. His monster postseason will help, but with such a small number of PAs for an all offense resume, he's almost gotta get to 500 HRs, I think.

CHW: Concur. Before he fell apart last year, I might have pegged Konerko as a McGriffian possibility to crawl his way to (near) 500 HRs, and perhaps - since he has no PED taint - that might be enough, but looks like he'll fall well short.

DET: Agree on Cabrera, more time on Verlander.... If the jury's out on Sale (CHW) and Davis (BAL), then why not on Scherzer? He's got relatively deserved CYA, good K numbers, and if he can stay healthy - decent shot at 2-250 wins.

CLE/HOU/KCR/OAK/TOR: Jose Bautista probably deserves a jury's out, no? I mean - he's got a chance to be a better Jim Rice...

LAA: The interesting thing about Trout to me is whether he heads for inner circle Mays-dom or merely easily-in but eerily seems like he could have been more Al Kaline-dom.

MIN: I honestly think moving over to 1b hurts Mauer... I suspect he'd have a better shot with say... 2200 hits as a C than 2800 hits as a C/1B. I don't think he's a lock, though. If Longoria is on the fringes, so is Mauer, I think.

NYY: Concur with everyone on Sabathia... he's close, but he needs a few more plus seasons (or a lot of meh seasons to compile his way in).

SEA: 2B have almost as many problems as 3B with voters, it seems to me... I'd put Cano on the fringes right now. If Seattle craters his offensive numbers, I don't think he's got enough... 2B with no black ink? Even the Yankee connection won't save him.

TBR: Longoria needs to stay healthy - 3B have so much difficulty getting credit that I don't like his chances if he can't manage somewhere in the neighborhood of 2500 hits/400 HRs/probably both... unless the BBWAA electorate becomes much more WAR/metric friendly by the time he retires (and remember... it's not just BBWAA membership, but membership + 10 years that gets you a ballot).

TEX: I think Beltre sails in because he's a near lock to get to 3000 hits, and has a better than 50/50 shot at getting to 500 HRs, too.

   9. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:00 PM (#4622863)
If the jury's out on Sale (CHW) and Davis (BAL), then why not on Scherzer?


I thought the same thing about Price.
   10. bobm Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:02 PM (#4622866)
looking at pitchers around 40-45 WAR through age 30, (Verlander is at 40.7 on bbref) I see Oswalt, Reuschel, Gooden, Mussina, Steve Carlton, Sam McDowell, Frank Tanana, Dennis Eckersley. 2 HOFers and Mussina who might get there.

Mussina and Verlander are extremely close, with 136 and 137 wins, and each have pitched exactly 1772 innings.


This seems a better way to categorize these players' chances.

Bus comps aside, for a given WAR range and age, what % of comps have eventually been inducted?
   11. Yastrzemski in left. Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:03 PM (#4622867)
Wy did the Red Sox let Beltre go? Cause they had Youk? He had a monster year at Fenway, what was it 8-9 WAR? His contract does not seem too crazy, either. He had an awesome year last year putting up a .371 OBP and another 199 hits and 30 HR's at age 34. Did he not like Boston? I missed the boat on that one.
   12. Greg K Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:05 PM (#4622869)
My patented (read: amateur and sloppily put together) system spits out the following for active players.
IN = In by bus
BUBBLE = maybe good enough, maybe not. If you're in your prime whilst on the bubble you've got a good shot
BUILDING = not a viable candidate right now, but young enough to have a reasonable shot

Catchers
IN - Mauer
BUILDING - Molina, Posey

First Base
IN - Pujols, Helton
BUBBLE - Cabrera (but he's literally on the line between bubble and in) Giambi, Teixeira, Ortiz
BUILDING - Votto

Second Base
IN - Utley
BUBBLE - Cano, Pedroia

Third Base
IN - Beltre
BUBBLE - Wright, Longoria
BUILDING - Zimmerman

Shortstop
IN - Jeter, A-Rod
BUBBLE - Tejada, Tulowitzki
BUILDING - Hanley

Corner Outfield
IN - Manny, Ichiro
BUBBLE - Berkman
BUILDING - Braun

Centerfield
IN - Beltran
BUILDING - Trout

Pitchers
IN - Halladay
DISCUSSION - Santana, Pettitte, Sabathia, Hudson, Oswalt
BUILDING - Lee, Verlander, Kershaw

Relievers
I think you know.
   13. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:14 PM (#4622874)
Beyond the Ichiro special cases, any HoFer that got a particularly late start on stardom?


HoFers to be: Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling.
HoFer: Sam Rice. You could classify him as a special case, though it's not in the traditional way (racism or war).

   14. no longer #6bid Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:16 PM (#4622877)
Greg K is that a Hall of Fame list or a Hall of Merit list? :-)

Because I have a very hard time imagining Helton or Utley being elected. Beltran seems unlikely. As for Teixeira and Berkman, I think they're on the bubble ... to drop off the ballot with < 5% of the vote.
   15. Davo Dozier (Mastroianni) Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:17 PM (#4622878)
#8--There are quite a few Hall of Fame pitchers who didn't achieve greatness until reasonably late in their career. Phil Niekro was 28 the first time he pitched over 100 innings in a season, and Dazzy Vance was 31. Hoyt Wilhelm made his debut at age 29. Herb Pennock didn't really become great until he got traded to the Yankees at age 29. Gaylord Perry didn't become a full-time starter until age 27. I'm sure I'm forgetting a few more.

As for position players, though...that's a significantly shorter list, and it's mostly one with borderline Hall of Famers. Earl Averill didn't make his debut until age 27, but was a star right away. (He might not count, though--I think he was another one of the guys stuck in the PCL.) Sam Rice was 27 the first time he got to play every day (but he had one of those long peakless careers where he was never really a star). Red Schoendienst was 29 the first time he had an All-Star level season.

...So, yeah. It's not much of a list. Hall of Fame sluggers were basically all slugging right out of the gate.
   16. Greg K Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:19 PM (#4622880)
Greg K is that a Hall of Fame list or a Hall of Merit list? :-)

Because I have a very hard time imagining Helton or Utley being elected. Beltran seems unlikely. As for Teixeira and Berkman, I think they're on the bubble ... to drop off the ballot with < 5% of the vote.

Heh, yeah it's more for my own personal collection. So like the Hall of Merit but with none of the rigour. Not intended to project the actual vote at all.
   17. bookbook Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:19 PM (#4622881)
Ortiz may be more likely to go in than Edgar, but he's a substantially worse candidate. Beyond the 9 point OPS+ deficit (which will probably be larger by the time Ortiz retires), Edgar was a non-terrible defensive 3rd baseman for almost a third of his career.

This is a fun article, but probably moot so long as players of the caliber of Bagwell, Bonds, Raines, Trammel, etc. can't sniff the hall.
   18. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:25 PM (#4622885)
Ortiz may be more likely to go in than Edgar, but he's a substantially worse candidate.

Agreed. It's just a shame that Edgar was never given more than a handful of postseason Pas and it will, in effect, be used against him.
   19. Davo Dozier (Mastroianni) Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:25 PM (#4622886)
The most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to judging active players' Hall of Fame chances is this:

Through age 29, Andruw Jones was a 10-time Gold Glove winner, a 5-time All Star, with 1500 hits, 340 homers, 58 WAR, a ton of post-season credit, and was coming off a year where he hit 41 homers with 129 RBIs and had a top-ten finish in the MVP vote.

And he has almost no chance whatsoever of making it to the Hall of Fame.
   20. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:27 PM (#4622889)
Re. CC/Verlander/Felix, I think it's very important for HOF purposes to consider narrative (for the same reason, I think Pedroia is a mortal lock barring collapse.)

Felix's narrative will read something like "uberprospect turned ace/victim of poor support/played in a severe pitcher's park", whereas Verlander's will read "ROY/Workhorse loaded with machismo and aceitude whose fastball got better late in the game/Magical MVP 2011/Best pitcher in the AL in the early 10's (at least)." CC's narrative roughly combines Felix's and Verlander's (though CC's magical 2008 was split between leagues) and adds a ring and the NYC big market boost.

I think in terms of HOF certainty, it probably goes CC-->Verlander--->Felix (not that it necessarily should.)
   21. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:29 PM (#4622891)
Beyond the Ichiro special cases, any HoFer that got a particularly late start on stardom?


Clemente, Kirby Puckett, maybe Willie Stargell. And of course, Babe Ruth. Guy didn't become an All-Star until age 38
   22. jmurph Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:30 PM (#4622893)
Agree that Pujols is probably a lock, but if last year was the beginning of a trend, then it's possible that he's going to close out his career with 9 years of injury-plagued, disappointing years in which he hovers around 1 WAR. This is obviously among the most pessimistic of the likely outcomes, but in that scenario, that would be a lot of bad years for the voters to ignore to get back to his out of this world prime years.
   23. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:31 PM (#4622894)
Wy did the Red Sox let Beltre go? Cause they had Youk?


They ran up against their "Adrian" limit.

   24. Morty Causa Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:32 PM (#4622895)
Dazzy Vance.

Hoyt Wilhem.
   25. John Northey Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:32 PM (#4622896)
As much as I'd love for Bautista to make it, I just don't see any realistic path. 211 HR at age 32. If he gets 30 a year (more than the past 2 years) he'd need nearly 10 more years to get to 500. 50 a year needs 6 more years and I doubt anyone sees that as possible for him. Short of 500 HR I don't see him making it as his career batting average of 254 would cost him tons of votes, with just one year over 260. If he had won 2 MVP's for his 2 great years then the voters would view him better come HOF time but unless he leads the Jays to the playoffs and has some major highlights there or has crazy longevity I don't see him as getting the 5% needed for a second ballot let alone in.
   26. AROM Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:33 PM (#4622897)
Second Base
IN - Utley


Maybe he's good enough, but Utley has basically no chance. He's the new Bobby Grich.
   27. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:35 PM (#4622899)
It's amazing that Andruw Jones is only 36 years old. I can barely remember a time before he was a punchline of decrepit fatness.

The Hall of Fame will give him somewhere between zero and ten votes, but the Hall of Merit discussion is going to be heated, with a lot of "Look at the WAR! Who cares about how it was distributed! What if he was hit by a bus at age 30, instead of transforming into Delmon Young?"

Maybe he's good enough, but Utley has basically no chance. He's the new Bobby Grich.


Certainly. He has no counting stats. For example, he's 41st in hits among active players, and I think the most anyone is hoping for is maybe one or two more All-Star appearances from the poor fellow.
(though 2013 was both his best statistical season and his healthiest season since 2010)
   28. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:36 PM (#4622900)

Maybe he's good enough, but Utley has basically no chance. He's the new Bobby Grich.


Utley's got a ring and has played with the big market Phillies for his whole career. He's also played in an era where there's a much better standing of his talent. I think he's got a pretty good chance, especially 7-10 years or so from now when he finally does appear on a ballot.
   29. JJ1986 Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:37 PM (#4622903)
Pujols with a long, awful decline is still better than Frank Thomas and Thomas seems like he will go in easily.
   30. GregD Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:39 PM (#4622906)
Maybe he's good enough, but Utley has basically no chance. He's the new Bobby Grich.
I fear you are right, but hope Krusty is right.
   31. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:47 PM (#4622913)
AL: let's see, Pujols, Ichiro!, Miggy, Josh Donaldson, and, yeah, that's about it right now.

LAA: The interesting thing about Trout to me is whether he heads for inner circle Mays-dom or merely easily-in but eerily seems like he could have been more Al Kaline-dom.

Here's how great Willie Mays was: if Trout keeps this up for another 12-13 years, without declining or getting hurt, he'll be as good as Willie Mays was.
   32. jmurph Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:49 PM (#4622914)
Pujols with a long, awful decline is still better than Frank Thomas and Thomas seems like he will go in easily.


Sure, in total, but Thomas put up really good years at age 38 and 39.
   33. Morty Causa Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:53 PM (#4622918)
Well, I don't know. Check out Roberto Alomar. Utley compares well, maybe not quite as high in peak, but maybe he won't take a nose-dive like Alomar did. Utley could lose some of that defensive value (while accruing overall value base on offense mostly) on the downside of his career, but surely writers and voters can see the obvious. Or enough of them, having the example of Grich and Gordon before him, should.
   34. BourbonSamurai Is a Lazy Nogoodnik Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:53 PM (#4622920)
I hadn't realized how good CC Sabathia was.
   35. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:53 PM (#4622921)
Re: late blooming sluggers

David Ortiz? He was good in Minnesota but wasn't really "David Ortiz" til he was 27 and on his third organization
   36. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: December 23, 2013 at 01:00 PM (#4622926)
I hadn't realized how good CC Sabathia was.


I just wanted to point out the past tense here; my guess is that it wasn't meant to be definitive.

It's possible that his ERA+ will stay in the double digits forever, but he's awfully young for that.
   37. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: December 23, 2013 at 01:01 PM (#4622927)
any HoFer that got a particularly late start on stardom?

Pitchers: Niekro, Wilhelm, Dazzy Vance.
Sam Rice didn't play a full season until he was 27.
   38. Davo Dozier (Mastroianni) Posted: December 23, 2013 at 01:02 PM (#4622928)
RoyalsRetro in 35--that's a good one. And he's really the outlier.

The main reason so few late-blooming sluggers have made the Hall of Fame is that most late-blooming sluggers have also declined really quickly. In other words, it's not just that they didn't become stars until age 27...it's that almost all of them were washed out by age 33.
   39. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 23, 2013 at 01:07 PM (#4622931)
Edgar Martinez is another late bloomer although that will likely cost him a bust in Cooperstown.
   40. zonk Posted: December 23, 2013 at 01:11 PM (#4622932)
Second Base
IN - Utley



Maybe he's good enough, but Utley has basically no chance. He's the new Bobby Grich.


Agree.... Though oddly - and this is probably more of a function of my baseball fandom being more a latter-day Grich watcher - I tend to think of Grich as more a Saber/WAR compiler candidate with Utley as more of a saber/WAR peak candidate.
   41. Davo Dozier (Mastroianni) Posted: December 23, 2013 at 01:15 PM (#4622934)
In every year from 2005 to 2009, Chase Utley led those great Phillies teams in WAR. Every year. For a team that won two pennants, 1 World Series, and never won fewer than 85 games.

However, he NEVER led the Phillies in MVP votes in any of those seasons! (In 2005 he was behind Pat Burrell; in 2006 he was behind Ryan Howard; in 2007 he was behind Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard; in 2008 he was behind Ryan Howard and Brad Lidge; and in 2009 he was behind Ryan Howard again.)

...What I'm getting at is: He has a narrative problem.
   42. zonk Posted: December 23, 2013 at 01:18 PM (#4622935)

Here's how great Willie Mays was: if Trout keeps this up for another 12-13 years, without declining or getting hurt, he'll be as good as Willie Mays was.


Yeah - I'm not at all saying Trout is any sort of lead pipe lock to do that...

Just saying that - absent some sort of issue (injury, otherwise), it'll be interesting to see where Trout lands. Being the new Al Kaline is obviously nothing to sneeze at - I just basically think of Kaline putting up his best (arguable, he had a couple more than were close/could be argued as a wee bit better depending on how you like your WAR) season at age 20, but pretty much hit his ceiling then hovered around it. Mays, OTOH, hit a higher ceiling -- then eclipsed it in his 30s.

No doubt about comfortable Hall of Famer vs Inner circle.

Bonds and A-Rod (and Clemens and maybe Maddux) are all, I think, inner circle guys that I feel fortunate to have watched from rookiedom to retirement. I'd just really like to see another generation of fans get treated to the same -- getting to watch a guy just astound you at a very young age, then get even better. It's always fun to have the pleasure of watching a guy follow that path.
   43. zonk Posted: December 23, 2013 at 01:24 PM (#4622937)

...What I'm getting at is: He has a narrative problem.


Right -

I think if this is a HoF argument (as opposed to HoM argument) -- we have to remember that the BBWAA HoF voting electorate isn't really going to be a whole lot different when these guys retire than it is now... We've only very recently seen a handful of new agers get accepted into the BBWAA. In 10 years - assuming they retain their membership - they'll get HoF voting credentials. A guy like Mike Trout might have the benefit of a very saber-friendly, WAR-watching electorate.... A guy like Utley probably isn't - figure, he's gonna be on the ballot within 10 years (probably more like 7 or 8). Hopefully he can hang around long enough for the BBWAA electorate to evolve -- but the evolution of that electorate is a "now + 10 years" process, unfortunately.
   44. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: December 23, 2013 at 01:33 PM (#4622944)
David Ortiz? He was good in Minnesota but wasn't really "David Ortiz" til he was 27 and on his third organization steroids.
   45. Davo Dozier (Mastroianni) Posted: December 23, 2013 at 01:44 PM (#4622950)
By WAR, Chase Utley was one of the 5 best position players in all of baseball for five consecutive years (2005-2009).

I'd guess that every other person to fit that criteria is in the Hall of Fame (or is Barry Bonds).
   46. Davo Dozier (Mastroianni) Posted: December 23, 2013 at 01:58 PM (#4622955)
UPDATE:

Heinie Groh of all people, from 1915 to 1919, finished 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, and 2nd among NL position players in WAR.

I guess it's time to hop on the bandwagon!
   47. jacjacatk Posted: December 23, 2013 at 02:07 PM (#4622960)
By WAR, Chase Utley was one of the 5 best position players in all of baseball for five consecutive years (2005-2009).

I'd guess that every other person to fit that criteria is in the Hall of Fame (or is Barry Bonds).


By WAR (position players only) Utley was second to only Pujols from 2005-2009.

For ages 26-30 (Utley's 2005-2009), this is the list of people who've had a better WAR total than Utley's 39.5 (in ascending order):

Schmidt
Boggs
Bonds
Gehrig
Musial
Aaron
Cobb
Yastrzemski
Hornsby
Pujols
Mays
Ruth

And I don't think Utley's getting in on the writer's ballot. I wouldn't even be surprised if he dropped off it early on.
   48. Moeball Posted: December 23, 2013 at 02:28 PM (#4622970)
In every year from 2005 to 2009, Chase Utley led those great Phillies teams in WAR. Every year. For a team that won two pennants, 1 World Series, and never won fewer than 85 games.

However, he NEVER led the Phillies in MVP votes in any of those seasons! (In 2005 he was behind Pat Burrell; in 2006 he was behind Ryan Howard; in 2007 he was behind Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard; in 2008 he was behind Ryan Howard and Brad Lidge; and in 2009 he was behind Ryan Howard again.)

...What I'm getting at is: He has a narrative problem.


...and the part of the narrative that I think is missing is this - for that 5 year period, wasn't Utley the best defensive second baseman in the league? Yet he has zero Gold Gloves to show for it, yes? How do they screw that up so badly? He couldn't get one stinkin' GG out of all this?
   49. TDF, situational idiot Posted: December 23, 2013 at 02:34 PM (#4622974)
Chase Utley has 5671 PA. For HOF hitters since WWII who didn't start in the Negro Leagues, Ralph Kiner (who was elected in his 15 try) has the fewest PA at 6256; George Kell (who topped out at 37% with the writers, but was inducted by the Vet committee) is 2nd at 7529. And now Utley's a 34 year old middle infielder who's averaged 450 PA/yr over the past 4 seasons.

His 58 bWAR is nice, but I think it's a stretch to think he has a good chance for enshrinement unless he adds another 2000+ quality PA.
   50. Moeball Posted: December 23, 2013 at 02:40 PM (#4622978)
The really weird thing to me is - for several decades the VC was a joke, letting in all of Frankie Frisch's teammates and other questionable candidates to the HOF. With the rare exception of an Arky Vaughan or Goose Goslin (any other examples that people can think of?), the VC wasn't in the business of correcting the BBWAA's oversights (although they probably thought they were).

Today, though, and going forward - I can imagine the next 25 years will be a lot of the VC doing more of the Ron Santo type thing and electing guys that the BBWAA should have elected in the first place. Will be interesting to see how this plays out. I guess what I'm really saying is that's about the only way Chase Utley gets in.
   51. Morty Causa Posted: December 23, 2013 at 02:48 PM (#4622980)
Yeah, to reach Grich territory, he's going to have to maintain his average for 2000+ more PAs. Grich didn't really dip far down until his last two seasons. He had physical problems from an injury, yet worked hard exercising to overcome them. Grich was pretty much the personification of grit. In his bio, he comes across as respecting, even admiring, Earl Weaver as a manager, but not really liking him as a person. Yet, he used that to make himself better.
   52. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: December 23, 2013 at 02:52 PM (#4622984)
Yeah, but when he stole the presents in Whoville, I personally think he went too far.
   53. Morty Causa Posted: December 23, 2013 at 03:00 PM (#4622986)
As a player, he looks like the Marlboro man who got us kids to smoke cigarettes.
   54. Ron J2 Posted: December 23, 2013 at 03:00 PM (#4622987)
#50 Aside from clearing the backlogs in the 40s (with an awful lot of terrible picks in the mix) there's also Johnny Mize.

They needed a VC in the 40s since the writers were basically unable to induct anybody. Even Rogers Hornsby barely cleared the line (78.1% in 1942) and if you have to be as good as Hornsby to get in, they wouldn't be inducting very many players.

After that, well Mize and Vaughan cover off a multitude of sins. I think it's been a net positive because I have no problem ignoring the Lloyd Waners or High Pockets Kellysof the world.

And as you say they will probably be needed for the same reason as they were in the 40s. And will probably do as bad a job as they did back then.
   55. BDC Posted: December 23, 2013 at 03:04 PM (#4622988)
I think Beltre sails in because he's a near lock to get to 3000 hits

Oh, please don't tempt the Evil Eye. Beltre is three years away from 3,000 at his recent pace, but his recent pace is the best of his career (and the best in the majors in 2013). Regression is on the way. I like his chances, too, but … there have been 25 previous players since 1901 to get to 2,400 hits through age 34. Ten of them got to 3,000.

That 40% is a bit pessimistic, because AROD will still get to 3,000 unless suspended forever, and Beltre presumably (stay away, Evil Eye) won't get Lou Gehrig's Disease. OTOH, through age 34, Roberto Alomar had 120 more hits than Beltre. Let's put it at 60% or 66.6%, not "near lock." I like to be pleasantly surprised by milestones :)
   56. AROM Posted: December 23, 2013 at 03:13 PM (#4622999)
Yeah, to reach Grich territory, he's going to have to maintain his average for 2000+ more PAs. Grich didn't really dip far down until his last two seasons. He had physical problems from an injury, yet worked hard exercising to overcome them. Grich was pretty much the personification of grit. In his bio, he comes across as respecting, even admiring, Earl Weaver as a manager, but not really liking him as a person. Yet, he used that to make himself better.


Utley is 2600 PA and 13 WAR short of Grich at the career level, or 5 seasons worth of slightly above average play. He's right where Grich was after 1981 - 5769 and 56.4. Grich played less in his final seasons, but he was an above average player until the day he retired.

A guy like Mike Trout might have the benefit of a very saber-friendly, WAR-watching electorate....


We're 25 years away from Trout's induction speech. Right now it sure doesn't look like he'll need any kind of benefit to make the hall, but I suspect WAR will have been surpassed by then, and the kids will have a new-fangled statistic by which to measure his greatness.
   57. zonk Posted: December 23, 2013 at 03:26 PM (#4623008)
I think any primate that has even a whiff of peak argument appreciation would probably vote for Utley.... but as folks have pointed out - the dude must have been sleeping with a lot of sportswriter wives or pissing in a lot of cheerios because he couldn't even get top billing (via MVP votes) on his own team and he also never got a GG.

Unless Chase can string together a couple of relatively healthy -- and good -- seasons, it wouldn't even shock me to see him go one and done.... that would be a travesty, but folks better start beating the Utley drum now because I think a lot of the current and 5-8 years from now current writers are likely to see meh compiler numbers, no black ink, and no hardware - and think of him as the 3rd or 4th cog on a very good team.
   58. AROM Posted: December 23, 2013 at 03:33 PM (#4623013)
and think of him as the 3rd or 4th cog on a very good team.


He's no Ryan Howard, that's for sure. Sometimes I wonder if a player like Utley even knows how good he is. Look at Brandon Phillips, getting all bent out of shape because Joey Votto - rightly - is paid more money. Utley deserved a lot more money than Howard ever did, but we never hear a peep about it.
   59. zonk Posted: December 23, 2013 at 03:34 PM (#4623016)
Howard - in a way - might still be screwing him.... Without Howard's contract, perhaps you could move Utley over to 1B and maybe keep him healthier, too...
   60. tfbg9 Posted: December 23, 2013 at 03:46 PM (#4623021)
David Ortiz? He was good in Minnesota but wasn't really "David Ortiz" til he was 27 and on his third organization steroids
.

2004
   61. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: December 23, 2013 at 03:48 PM (#4623022)
Oh he started before then, but that's a good opening estimate.
   62. billyshears Posted: December 23, 2013 at 03:54 PM (#4623026)
Utley was a very well rounded player who concentrated an exceptional amount of value into relatively few seasons. There are lots of educated and uneducated ways to ding him. One can not recognize the value of a 2b putting up the numbers he did or one can simply not buy the magnitude of the defensive components that contribute to his WAR. Or one can just lean a bit more heavily to career value over peak value. There are going to be enough people for whom the shape of Utley's career is not their cup of tea to keep him out of the HoF. I'm not entirely sure that they're wrong.
   63. Booey Posted: December 23, 2013 at 03:57 PM (#4623030)
I think any primate that has even a whiff of peak argument appreciation would probably vote for Utley.... but as folks have pointed out - the dude must have been sleeping with a lot of sportswriter wives or pissing in a lot of cheerios because he couldn't even get top billing (via MVP votes) on his own team and he also never got a GG.


It's probably the potty mouth. They're afraid he'll drop some F-bombs during his induction speech so they protect the childrens virgin ears by making sure he never gets one.
   64. AROM Posted: December 23, 2013 at 04:08 PM (#4623037)
One thing about Utley and WAR to keep in mind is the defensive stats. DRS, used in the bbref calculation, has him at +133 runs. Totalzone is only +60, Prospectus has +43, and UZR at +97. I'm convinced that he was a great fielder, but how great is up for debate.
   65. Booey Posted: December 23, 2013 at 04:09 PM (#4623038)
Utley was a very well rounded player who concentrated an exceptional amount of value into relatively few seasons. There are lots of educated and uneducated ways to ding him. One can not recognize the value of a 2b putting up the numbers he did or one can simply not buy the magnitude of the defensive components that contribute to his WAR. Or one can just lean a bit more heavily to career value over peak value. There are going to be enough people for whom the shape of Utley's career is not their cup of tea to keep him out of the HoF. I'm not entirely sure that they're wrong.


That's kinda what I was thinking too. I try to base my hypothetical HOF votes on a combination of peak and career, and it's hard for me to see someone as a definite HOFer with such a short prime, no matter how great it was. He seems kinda Nomar/Mattingly/Dale Murphy-ish to me right now (or Tulo, if he doesn't add anything else to his case). WAR does shows Utley's peak to be clearly better than all of them, though, so there's that. I hope he stays healthy and puts up a few more good seasons to make this argument moot.*

* - Or moo. Like a cow's opinion. It doesn't matter (say what you want about Friends, but that was a funny line).
   66. AROM Posted: December 23, 2013 at 04:20 PM (#4623042)
That was a great line.

Happy Festivus, Booey.
   67. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: December 23, 2013 at 04:38 PM (#4623054)
The first name that came to my mind when reading "Verlander Lock" was Johan Santana and sure enough who was each of their first comps.?
In fact Santana was even more of a "lock" then Verlander at the same age. He had him 51.5-40.2 in WAR. This guy really needs to pull in the reins.
   68. Curse of the Andino Posted: December 23, 2013 at 04:47 PM (#4623060)
BAL: Chris Davis will not be a HoFer but it's an interesting question... Beyond the Ichiro special cases, any HoFer that got a particularly late start on stardom? Davis was a plus player at 26, but last year - his age 27 season - was his first true "star" level season.


I love me some Crush Davis, but, yeah, 2 good years. Machado had one very good year at a very young age, which means nothing, yet. The only guy who might even enter into the conversation is Jones, he of the declining walk rate. 3 ASGs, GGs, lots of homers, still only 28, would be the only guy I'd even talk about as an HOF'er, and then I'd say give me another five years of that.
   69. TDF, situational idiot Posted: December 23, 2013 at 04:54 PM (#4623069)
I think any primate that has even a whiff of peak argument appreciation would probably vote for Utley
Utley's 5 year peak: 39.5 WAR. Next 5 best outside that peak (in order): 5.8, 3.7, 3.5, 3.0, 2.3.

Andrew Jones (who was said above to have "almost no chance whatsoever of making it to the Hall of Fame") 5 year peak: 34.1 WAR. Next 5: 6.7, 5.6, 4.9, 3.3, 3.2 (and another 3.0).

So his 5 or 6 year peak is a bit better than Jones, but he has nothing outside that span that's special - his 5.8 WAR season would be year 6, while Jones' would be the 4.9 WAR season.

I'm not saying Utley is a bum, but I think some here are overstating the value of his peak because that's all he's got - 6 great years, and nothering else.
   70. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: December 23, 2013 at 05:03 PM (#4623074)


Here's how great Willie Mays was: if Trout keeps this up for another 12-13 years, without declining or getting hurt, he'll be as good as Willie Mays was.


That's a ridiculously high standard though, Mays is probably the best all around play ever. For Trout to even be in the conversation is a credit to him and how amazing he's been thus far.
   71. GregD Posted: December 23, 2013 at 05:13 PM (#4623083)
Here's how great Willie Mays was: if Trout keeps this up for another 12-13 years, without declining or getting hurt, he'll be as good as Willie Mays was.
after missing basically two years for armed service during wartime!
   72. zonk Posted: December 23, 2013 at 05:22 PM (#4623087)
Utley's 5 year peak: 39.5 WAR. Next 5 best outside that peak (in order): 5.8, 3.7, 3.5, 3.0, 2.3.

Andrew Jones (who was said above to have "almost no chance whatsoever of making it to the Hall of Fame") 5 year peak: 34.1 WAR. Next 5: 6.7, 5.6, 4.9, 3.3, 3.2 (and another 3.0).

So his 5 or 6 year peak is a bit better than Jones, but he has nothing outside that span that's special - his 5.8 WAR season would be year 6, while Jones' would be the 4.9 WAR season.

I'm not saying Utley is a bum, but I think some here are overstating the value of his peak because that's all he's got - 6 great years, and nothering else.


Problem with that argument is that I'm on record as a "Yes" for Andruw.... I'm a really big hall guy. Limit me to 10 votes and sure - especially if the crunch holds up through Jones retirement, really good chance he simply ends up being 11th/12th/13th on some of my ballots and falls out of consideration. Some thread years and years ago, I remember we went through HoF ballots back many many years and I remember there were only one or two years where I couldn't legitimately build a 10 person ballot.

I should note, though -- my big hall thinking really only extends to my own (theoretical, of course) voting. I tend to draw the line more judiciously so far as who I'd campaign for....

My voting thinking tends to break into 4 classes...

9th/10th ballot spot -- guys I'd vote for, but have little to no expectation will make it. I think they're worthy, but understand most folks - even very judicious and thoughtful voters don't. These are guys like Andruw Jones who I think have legitimate cases, but I'm not versed enough to make them so why bother?

6th/7th/8th -- guys I'd vote for, don't expect to make it, but would argue for, at least in the sense of "you should give him another look". This is basically the Trammell class, the E-Marts, the Walkers. Guys who probably aren't going to make it, guys who could very well be excluded by "thinking" voters - but generally speaking, are the big hall/small hall dividing line. To me -- these are sort of 'HoM but not HoF' sweet spot guys

4th/5th -- guys who are HoFers but really on the bubble. Tim Raines. Ron Santo. Bert Blyleven. Guys who belong but struggle to make it.

1st/2nd/3rd -- No doubt HoFers. Guys any reasonable person should argue in favor of and ought to be enshrined without even needing my vote.


   73. GregD Posted: December 23, 2013 at 05:22 PM (#4623088)
Mays is probably the best all around play ever
I would still take George Herman if you had to have the player pitch, too
   74. zonk Posted: December 23, 2013 at 05:26 PM (#4623091)
That's a ridiculously high standard though, Mays is probably the best all around play ever. For Trout to even be in the conversation is a credit to him and how amazing he's been thus far.


Oh sure -

That's why I tossed Kaline into the mix. Mays was basically a god from the get go... and then got even better.

Kaline was a god but sort of bobbed back to demigod, only briefly touching on what you might think a 20 year-old might be able to do if he kept developing. I understand that's a bit of an unfair slight to Kaline -- I mean, he's a no doubt HoFer...

It really speaks to the rarified air of someone like Mays.... You've got to be otherwordly at a young age, AND then get better!
   75. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: December 23, 2013 at 05:35 PM (#4623101)
It really speaks to the rarified air of someone like Mays.... You've got to be otherwordly at a young age, AND then get better!

This was pretty much my whole point, yes.
I saw that Trout was about 20 WAR for his first two seasons, which is freakin' ridiculous. But then I realized how long he'd have to be that good to catch Mays.
   76. cardsfanboy Posted: December 23, 2013 at 05:51 PM (#4623112)
Reading the article(and none of the comments on here yet.)

1. His definition of lock is fluid. I don't see how Verlander is a lock and Ortiz is on the fringe. I agree both need to do more, and Verlander is more than likely to do it than Ortiz(just because he has more years to do it in) but still don't really see one being more in today than the other.
2. I don't think he got the memo on the revised war replacement level, 60 seems a little too low to be considered a lock for a hof.
3. I'm not sure what he has against Carlos Santana, but at the very least he should have gotten a jury's still out mention.
4. I understand the hype of Trout, but realistically he is not much closer to being a lock than Machado. (or any other two year player in history)

Others I'm surprised to not see some mention of, Shields, Bautista, Donaldson(or Crisp or Cespedes) (just naming teams with no representatives, figured you would at least mention their best candidates...except of course Houston)
   77. cardsfanboy Posted: December 23, 2013 at 06:05 PM (#4623129)

I'm not saying Utley is a bum, but I think some here are overstating the value of his peak because that's all he's got - 6 great years, and nothering else.


Not really, he has a great career rate. He never had a season where he wasn't a plus player, that 5.8 war that you are throwing away, was done in 115 games. That 3.7 in 103, and the 3.0 was done in 83 games.

Mind you, I'm the type of guy who rewards durability so this isn't an argument that I personally make, but in a world that people see Larry Walker as a hof lock, Utley's rate stats is pretty impressive by hof standards.

Andruw was accumulating his extra numbers by playing 160 games a season...Chase is a better rate player than Andruw was.
   78. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: December 23, 2013 at 06:31 PM (#4623159)
If you ask the average fan who's got more HOF coin in the bank between Howard and Utley, I guarantee upwards of 3/4 will say Howard.
The biggest problem they both have, is they got started so late. It's really tough for a non-pitcher to build a HOF career when you don't get started until your 25. For one thing, most HOF types are ML ready at a young age. The other problem with a late start is that you just run out of prime. That seems to apply to Utley.
   79. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 23, 2013 at 06:41 PM (#4623164)
The only active players I feel like are locks are Derek Jeter, Ichiro Suzuki, Albert Pujols, and Miguel Cabrera. And that's saying if they were hit by a bus tomorrow, they're in.

A-Rod should be in, and probably will eventually, but I'd say its 80% likely, rather than 99% because of the PEDs and sportswriters just not liking him.

Beltre probably becomes a lock once he gets to 3000 hits. But no MVPs, no rings, not as many Gold Gloves as you might expect, only three All-Star seasons - that will hurt him with old school guys. I don't get the sense MSM voters think he's a HOFer. And he's never been a super duper star or well known player. If he falls short of 3000 somehow, I think he's going to need a campaign to get him, but that would eventually get him in.

Beltran probably eeks in, but its going to take a long time, and he will probably need a few more non-terrible years and a campaign for his candidacy.

Robinson Cano and Joe Mauer probably a good bet to get in, so long as they don't fall off a cliff immediately.

I think Giambi gets the Palmeiro/Sosa/McGwire treatment.

Sabathia's on his way, probably needs a few more non-terrible seasons.

Oswalt and Santana didn't pitch enough to get serious consideration.

Halladay is right on the bubble. Not sure about what voters will say about him. Ditto on David Ortiz.

Cliff Lee is on the right path, but he's running out of time fast, and I imagine he'll be in the same boat as Oswalt. Tim Hudson is almost out of time and his numbers aren't going to get him in.

Too early to say on Votto, Longoria, Verlander and Felix, but they're on the right path. I'd say the same for Ryan Braun, but the PED stuff muddles it up quite a bit. He'll likely have to be a slamdunk case to get in. Ryan Zimmerman is headed to the HoVG, unless he mixes in an MVP-type season in there and/or wins a title. Yadi Molina will probably get in if he has a decent decline phase because - narrative (he was pretty good too). Buster Posey is on the right path.

Way too early on Chris Davis or Machado or Darvish or Kershaw or Sale or even Mike Trout. Tony Conigliaro's not in the HOF, nor will Trout be if his career ends immediately.

I agree with the sentiments that Utley will likely be undeservedly left out. Which also probably means Pedroia is left out.

I bet Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard get a surprising amount of support, but neither will get much past Fred McGriff numbers.


   80. GregD Posted: December 23, 2013 at 06:51 PM (#4623170)
I bet Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard get a surprising amount of support, but neither will get much past Fred McGriff numbers.
I worry about Howard. If he has a cromulent mid to late 30s, esp in RBI numbers, he'll appeal to quite a few voters. He already more than 100 spots above McGriff on MVP Award Shares. He's 55th and the only person who is ahead of him who was eligible for the HOF and not suspected (fairly or un) of steroids is Dave Parker, I think. If he can roll into some good career HR and RBI numbers, he'll get a lot more support than Crime Dog, I bet.
   81. franoscar Posted: December 23, 2013 at 07:15 PM (#4623181)
Unless he loses votes because of the PED suggestion, I think David Ortiz will get into the Hall of Fame on narrative. As far as I recall he was just David in 2007, but 2004 & 2013 will stick to him. Especially since Manny Ramirez seems to have been removed from history.
   82. Davo Dozier (Mastroianni) Posted: December 23, 2013 at 07:34 PM (#4623185)
#79--I think with the Andruw Jones situation above, the only active players I'm comfortable calling Hall of Fame "locks" are those who have already played ten seasons and would get elected if they retired tomorrow morning.

If someone still needs a "graceful decline" to get in...it's not a lock! Andruw Jones had just 2 WAR from age 31 on; Ralph Kiner and Al Rosen had 3 WAR; Edgar Renteria and Darryl Strawberry 1. Even Ken Griffey Jr had just 7 WAR and he's one of the most graceful players of all-time! The list of All-Star caliber players who couldn't manage a "graceful decline" is enormous; it's a lot harder to manage then some might think.
   83. madvillain Posted: December 23, 2013 at 07:59 PM (#4623191)
I don't think Utley is close. I've looked over his stats, read the arguments here and I just don't see it. His peak is nice, but a lot of it is, as noted in rather amorphous (compared to hitting stats) defensive value of which my inclination is to not weight as equally as say oWAR. If he adds another 4 years of around 4 to 5 WAR production then he is close IMO.

That's just like, my opinion man.
   84. TDF, situational idiot Posted: December 23, 2013 at 08:11 PM (#4623200)
Not really, he has a great career rate. He never had a season where he wasn't a plus player, that 5.8 war that you are throwing away, was done in 115 games
I didn't "throw it out"; it's part of the "6 great years" I mentioned.

He's not as much "all peak" as Koufax (of course, by WAR Koufax's peak was much higher) but he isn't HOF quality outside that 6 year peak either.

Mind you, I'm the type of guy who rewards durability so this isn't an argument that I personally make, but in a world that people see Larry Walker as a hof lock, Utley's rate stats is pretty impressive by hof standards.
But those rate stats don't mean squat if he isn't playing. He'll be 35 years old, yet he only has 7 seasons where he qualified for the batting title.

And I'm not saying he can't be a HOFer, just that he needs more good play to get there. And the fact that he has only 1800 PA over the past 4 years isn't encouraging.
   85. Walt Davis Posted: December 23, 2013 at 08:23 PM (#4623203)
His 2nd MVP moved Cabrera into "lock" status.

Ortiz: 287/381/549, 139 OPS+, 8249 PA, 431 HR, 1429 RBI, 44 WAR, 45 oWAR, 359 Rbat
McGriff: 284/377/509, 134 OPS+, 10174 PA, 493 HR, 1550 RBI, 53 WAR, 56 oWAR, 398 Rbat

Ortiz has two top 10 WARpos compared to four for McGriff. Ortiz has many more AS games and better MVP finishes (Howard style).

Ortiz is 1800 PA behind, will probably pass Fred in RBI, HR and Rbat although it is closer than it looks. If Ortiz's age 38-40 repeat his 35-37, then he'll catch McGriff in WAR.

McGriff had 4 WAR at 35 and 3.7 WAR at 37 (and was terrible at 36) compared to Ortiz at 3.9, 3.1, 4.4 ... so Ortiz currently better than McGriff was at the same age but it's reasonably close. McGriff still hit well at 38 (125 OPS+ in 595 PA) but was pretty useless at 39 and got a short shot to reach 500 at 40. (Interestingly, neither guy was all that useful from 32-34.)

If Ortiz were to have McGriff's 38-40, he'll add only 1005 PA, 45 HR, 150 RBI and 2 WAR. That puts him on 9250 PA, 476 HR, 1579 RBI, 46 WAR and 375 Rbat, passing McGriff only in RBI. The OPS+ would have dropped to about 136.

And McGriff in the postseason? 303/385/532, 10 HR in 218 PA. Ortiz is even better of course but Fred was not shabby. (Note, Fred with 1 HR every 22 PA; Ortiz with 1 HR ever 21 PA)

So, Fred McGriff's HoF case -- he was David Ortiz except he played the field his entire career. Ortiz's HoF case -- he was a postseason clutch god version of Fred McGriff that didn't play the field.

   86. puck Posted: December 23, 2013 at 08:28 PM (#4623206)
Beltre probably becomes a lock once he gets to 3000 hits. But no MVPs, no rings, not as many Gold Gloves as you might expect, only three All-Star seasons - that will hurt him with old school guys. I don't get the sense MSM voters think he's a HOFer. And he's never been a super duper star or well known player. If he falls short of 3000 somehow, I think he's going to need a campaign to get him, but that would eventually get him in.


I was wondering about Beltre's chances the other day. Even if he does get to 3000 hits. The above seems right--I don't think that many voter types think of him as a HoFer. He's hurt by the usual 3B issue, having so many years in pitchers parks, being fairly well-rounded (lot of value from D), and not having his great years all in a row (though his run since leaving Seattle is pretty good). I wonder if too many voters will discount him for being a "compiler."
   87. cardsfanboy Posted: December 23, 2013 at 08:34 PM (#4623209)
He's not as much "all peak" as Koufax (of course, by WAR Koufax's peak was much higher) but he isn't HOF quality outside that 6 year peak either.


I don't think anyone is really putting Utley up there as an all peak candidate(with the exception of Greg K) . He needs the counting numbers of course, and he'll need to get another 2000-3000 pa, which could be a longshot, but I'm not sure that those are out of the question, but he doesn't really need to be Utley for those years, just be a 2 war player for the remainder. If he puts up 3000 pa(roughly 6 years) at 100 ops+ that puts him in the 8600 pa, 117 ops+ category for a second baseman. That is pretty good company, mind you of course it's not all hofers as Whitaker and Grich didn't make it in with numbers like that.

Of course with Utley being already 34, the point about him not having it yet truly stands out, but of course most people would say he needs to be in the 65 war range to have a case anyway and they are just wishcasting a gradual decline on him probably.

   88. cardsfanboy Posted: December 23, 2013 at 08:40 PM (#4623215)
So, Fred McGriff's HoF case -- he was David Ortiz except he played the field his entire career. Ortiz's HoF case -- he was a postseason clutch god version of Fred McGriff that didn't play the field.


Narrative always helps, and it generally seems to really help if you are clearly identified with one team. Alomar and Blyleven are probably the exceptions(with Whitaker, Santo and Trammel being the exceptions the other way) . I do like the comparing of Ortiz to McGriff, seems an apt comparison. But of course the Red Sox faithful will still say "it's enough to push him over the edge."

   89. Buck Coats Posted: December 23, 2013 at 08:45 PM (#4623218)
I think Giambi gets the Palmeiro/Sosa/McGwire treatment.


I think Giambi gets the John Olerud/Will Clark treatment
   90. cardsfanboy Posted: December 23, 2013 at 08:48 PM (#4623219)
I don't think Utley is close. I've looked over his stats, read the arguments here and I just don't see it. His peak is nice, but a lot of it is, as noted in rather amorphous (compared to hitting stats) defensive value of which my inclination is to not weight as equally as say oWAR. If he adds another 4 years of around 4 to 5 WAR production then he is close IMO.

That's just like, my opinion man.


I guess it depends on where you fall on the line of Kent, Grich and Whitaker. Utley is not in yet(imo) but 4 years of 4-5 war is a ridiculous high level to ask from him. Even if you accept that the defensive numbers overrate him, he's still at an obp heavy ops+ of 126... If he puts up 4-6 seasons(BIG IF) of just 100 ops+, that will put him with as strong a career offensive numbers as Sandberg, Whitaker and Alomar, while being a clearly better defensive player than all three. He doesn't really need to be great for the remainder of his career, he just needs to not be terrible.(which is where the Andruw Jones comparisons came in)

Of course whether the voters agree is a different story, as Bobby Grich is better than all four I have mentioned and isn't in yet.
   91. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 23, 2013 at 09:37 PM (#4623237)
The only active players I feel like are locks are Derek Jeter, Ichiro Suzuki, Albert Pujols, and Miguel Cabrera

Cabrera may get in if he were literally hit by a bus, but if he just sucked for a few years and then retired, I doubt it. It's obviously way too hard to get in to a club that includes not just George Kelly and Lloyd Waner but also Kirby Puckett and Jim Rice.
   92. Baldrick Posted: December 23, 2013 at 10:17 PM (#4623245)
Agree that Pujols is probably a lock, but if last year was the beginning of a trend, then it's possible that he's going to close out his career with 9 years of injury-plagued, disappointing years in which he hovers around 1 WAR. This is obviously among the most pessimistic of the likely outcomes, but in that scenario, that would be a lot of bad years for the voters to ignore to get back to his out of this world prime years.

There is absolutely zero chance that Pujols doesn't make the HOF, unless it's for reasons totally external to his on-field performance.

He could be Bill Bergen out there for the next decade and would still make it. He's got three MVPs and several more that folks might think were 'stolen' by Bonds. He's got 500 HR and 1500 RBI. He would have go 0 for his next 514 AB to drop his average below .300.
   93. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 24, 2013 at 12:16 AM (#4623285)
He would have go 0 for his next 514 AB to drop his average below .300.

Or 430 for his next 2000.
   94. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: December 24, 2013 at 08:31 AM (#4623342)
I don't think Utley is close. I've looked over his stats, read the arguments here and I just don't see it. His peak is nice, but a lot of it is, as noted in rather amorphous (compared to hitting stats) defensive value of which my inclination is to not weight as equally as say oWAR. If he adds another 4 years of around 4 to 5 WAR production then he is close IMO.

That's just like, my opinion man.

This is a fallacy. The notion that defense is a bigger part of one player's candidacy, simply because the number is higher, is just wrong. Defense is an equal part of each player's performance (well opportunity varies based on batting order position, and defensive position, but let's face it, nobody who ever brings this up is making that case).

Derek Jeter needs our evaluation of his defense to hold up, just as much as Ozzie Smith does. If either of them is actually 10 runs worse per year, then they are both equally screwed.
   95. thok Posted: December 24, 2013 at 09:56 AM (#4623363)
His 2nd MVP moved Cabrera into "lock" status.


Treating the Hall of Fame as the political process it is, Cabrera clinched a Hall of Fame spot with his first MVP. Cabrera was always going to get votes from the new school sabermetric types who knew how good he was three years ago. But the Cabrera vs Trout debate and the Triple Crown has basically made Cabrera a traditionalist's darling and all but guaranteed their votes for the Hall of Fame as well.
   96. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 24, 2013 at 10:01 AM (#4623366)
I think Giambi gets the John Olerud/Will Clark treatment


I have Tex getting Will Clarked.
   97. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: December 24, 2013 at 10:55 AM (#4623393)
This is a fallacy. The notion that defense is a bigger part of one player's candidacy, simply because the number is higher, is just wrong. Defense is an equal part of each player's performance (well opportunity varies based on batting order position, and defensive position, but let's face it, nobody who ever brings this up is making that case).

Derek Jeter needs our evaluation of his defense to hold up, just as much as Ozzie Smith does. If either of them is actually 10 runs worse per year, then they are both equally screwed.


This strikes me as completely wrong. Of course defense is a bigger part of Ozzie Smith's candidacy than it is Jeter's. Jeter is a Hall of Famer because he's number 21 all time in oWAR. His defense is immaterial to his case (which is fortunate for him). No Hall of Fame voter is going to think about his defensive value before adding his name to the ballot. If he's even worse defensively than we thought, it doesn't hurt his candidacy whatsoever. Ozzie's case rests on being a defensive wizard. If he's merely great, as opposed to otherworldly, he's just the guy with the 183rd-best oWAR of all time; that guy is buying a ticket when he goes to Cooperstown.
   98. Booey Posted: December 24, 2013 at 11:32 AM (#4623420)
I have Tex getting Will Clarked.


Only Tex's numbers actually warrant it. Does anyone see him as even a borderline HOFer?
   99. AROM Posted: December 24, 2013 at 11:36 AM (#4623423)
I think Giambi gets the John Olerud/Will Clark treatment


Agreed. Steroids won't come into play because he doesn't have the same numbers (specifically 500+ homers) that Raffy, Sosa, and Mac have. Voters need to find a reason to keep those three out - and steroids has been the reason they found. On Giambi, they need a reason to put him in. Steroids means that even if there is one, they'll never look for it.
   100. AROM Posted: December 24, 2013 at 11:46 AM (#4623431)
If Cabrera were hit by a bus, or less violently, was diagnosed with a career ending hip condition in spring training, he's got:

7126 PA, 1995 hits, 365 HR, 1260 RBI, .321 avg, 154 OPS+, 55 WAR, top 3 seasons OPS+ of 178, 179, 187, 2 MVP.

He's a better candidate than Albert Belle:
6676 PA, 1726 H, 381 HR, 1239 RBI, .295 avg, 144 OPS+, 40 WAR, top 3 of 194, 177, 172, one MVP award (lost by theft).

But the gap isn't that great. Belle lasted for 2 ballots.
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